Company Philosophy

W .J. Wheeler & Co., Inc. is a locally owned and operated Trusted Choice™ Insurance Agency offering personal and commercial insurance to clients in the Oxford Hills, Oxford County and Western Maine since 1864, with locations in South Paris and Bethel.

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Our goal is to provide the best value available to our clients in property, casualty (lawsuit protection), life, health, & retirement products. As part of our commitment to providing value:

  • We regularly review each client’s insurance program.
  • We act with integrity in maintaining strong partnerships with both our carriers and our clients
  • We request that our clients place their entire insurance program with us, to ensure superior service, adequate coverage and optimal pricing.
  • In a relationship business such as ours, we recognize the vital asset of our staff and invest heavily in their training and development.
  • As a member of the communities of Western Maine, we pledge 1% of our annual revenues to local community development in the areas of sustainable economic development, healthy youth development and our diverse heritage and culture.

Company History

H enry Howard, an attorney of South Paris, founded an insurance agency in 1864, employing William J. Wheeler of Dixfield to assist him with the clerical and sales work. A year later, Mr. Howard died and Mr. Wheeler took over the active ownership and management of the agency. The first of four offices located in Market Square, South Paris, was situated on the second floor of the Williams Harness Store. In the nearly 150 years since that time, the automobile, airplane, and computer have been invented, but the agency’s commitment to its clients has continued uninterrupted.

The company moved to its present location in the Billings Block, Market Square, in 1898. William’s son, Stanley Wheeler, joined the firm in 1902 and was named director at its incorporation in 1916. Robert Wheeler, Stanley’s brother joined the company in 1919.

In 1952, Howard Cole, the third generation of the family to be associated with the company, moved from Skowhegan to Bethel and began working for his uncles, Stanley and Robert.

Jeffrey Newsom, son-in-law to Howard, joined the firm in May of 1969 and became president at Howard’s retirement in 1982. In June of that same year, Howard’s son Curtis Cole joined the firm, representing the fourth generation.

In 1985, the company purchased a branch office in Bethel in the Norway Savings Bank building on 1 Parkway. In November 2004, Jeffrey’s son and Curtis’ nephew, Michael Newsom joined the agency, now a fifth-generation family business.